Thrice gets musical, political

Orange County's heavy hitting rock band Thrice, which hit D.C.'s 9:30 Club earlier this month, have gained a diehard fan base and a major label record deal thanks to their poignant lyrics, melodic metal/hardcore influenced rock and relentless touring. The band's last two and previously most beloved records, "The Illusion of Safety" and "Artist In The Ambulance," were made with well-known rock producer Brian McTernan (Hot Water Music, The Movielife, Snapcase).

When it came time for the follow-up to "Artist In The Ambulance," Thrice found themselves moving in a distinctly different direction, both lyrically and musically, which guided them to British producer Steve Osbourne, known for his work with Peter Gabriel, U2 and Doves, among others. Thrice drummer Riley Breckenridge explained that Osbourne's willingness to work with the band progressively, instead of focusing on what the band had done in the past, is what sold them on working with him.

"We were talking to some American producers, some pretty big rock guys. They said 'I've heard the band's older stuff and I'm hearing these demos and I don't understand where they're going,' and they passed on it. And Steve was like, 'I like what I hear [and] I think we can do something really cool with this', and for us it was like let's do this, you're into [it] and you're willing to take a chance the way we're taking a chance," Breckenridge said.

With a producer in line, the band created "Vhiessu," released Oct. 18, which Breckenridge describes as the band's most dynamic work.

"There's a lot of stuff on this record that we've been wanting to do for four years since before we made our previous record, 'Artist in the Ambulance,' and we just didn't have time, whether its incorporating new instruments or experimenting with electronics or synths and writing different styles of songs than just aggressive rock," Breckenridge said. "There's a lot of different dynamics in it. There's mellow stuff, mellower than we've ever done before. There's aggressive stuff, there's heavy stuff. I think it's really moody and as an entire record takes you on a journey with ups and downs. It doesn't feel linear."

With past records, Thrice has been known to donate a portion of their record sales to a charity of their choice. For "Vheissu," the band decided to turn its helping hand toward 826 Valencia, an organization based in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles that was started by popular contemporary writer Dave Eggers.

"It's basically a place where underprivileged kids can go to get tutoring and help with creative writing, SAT classes, help with their homework and to help them be creative and help them with their schooling," Breckenridge said. "For us it's important because it seems like creativity is kind of losing a place in schools now, whether it's music programs being shut down and less of a emphasis on creative writing and poetry, stuff like that."

Outside of record sales, Thrice has also recently become involved in promoting a documentary and organization called "Invisible Children," about 8- to 12-year-old Ugandan children who are forced into military service. Breckenridge encourages everyone to check out and, and said Thrice singer Dustin Kensrue is planning to travel to Uganda to possibly film another documentary for the organization at the end of the year.

Up next for Thrice is the release of a new single, the haunting ballad "Red Sky," as well as a prominent spot on The Taste of Chaos tour, the winter version of the Vans Warped Tour, which also features The Deftones and Atreyu.

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